The newest Iphone retails for $769. EXPENSIVE! Some, shoot most, would say it’s over priced.

Is it the best Iphone ever created? That’s up for debate. I for one don’t think so because I miss standard headphone jack that was removed. Now I either have to use bluetooth or custom Iphone headphones which aren’t cheap. But it’s the latest phone so naturally it’s going to be the most expensive whether it’s the best or not. As a consumer you have two choices, either you want the phone enough to pay for it or you don’t.

Simple.

Now enter the world of the 49ers fan base.

Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins failed to reach a long term agreement on Monday. He’ll be a free agent in 2018 if Washington doesn’t franchise tag him again which is unlikely to happen due to the heavy price tag associated with such a decision. This all but confirms what many believed already…Kirk Cousins is coming to the San Francisco 49ers in 2018. The only question now is…how much is it going to cost to get him here?

Therein lies the dilemma that is sparking an internal debate within the 49ers community.

Dive into any Cousin’s debate between fans and you’ll most likely see the following…

How much is too much? Where’s the value? What’s Kirk ever done? Are we going to have to give him more than Derek Carr’s 25 million? He’s never won a playoff game. He’s only put up good numbers because of the talent around him. We should just draft Darnold, Rosen or Allen because they’ll be cheaper.

…and so on and so on.

Here’s the only two things that matter when determining the value of Kirk’s contract and this can be applied to any quarterback on the market…

  1. Is he considered a franchise quarterback?
  2. Is he the latest franchise quarterback to be signed?

That’s all. Take your stats, your personal bias, your hope for a rookie quarterback being our savior and THROW THEM ALL AWAY.

LIke it or not, Kirk Cousins is considered a franchise quarterback. Just because the debacle called Washington didn’t think so doesn’t mean it’s not true. In fact, they actually DID think he was a franchise player but they had commitment issues. Think of it like a guy who’s dating what he envisioned as his dream girl. She’s doing all the right things, she keeps treating him better and better as time goes by…but he’s only been dating her for one year. He WANTS to buy a ring and propose but he still hasn’t seen enough. What if she has a 1 year long honeymoon phase and all of a sudden stops being so great in year 2? So he holds off. He promises her he’s going to propose. If she keeps this up for 1 more year, then he’ll do it. Year 2 passes and she was even BETTER than in year 1. Still…he needs to see more. So he promises again that he’ll propose next year but he does buy her a “promise ring” to hold her over until then. Unfortunately, now she’s growing resentful. The year passes and she treated him even better than the previous year because that’s who she is. She’s a good person. However, despite her loving actions, the resentment of him stringing her along grew too much to handle. When he finally pops the question, she tells him that she enjoyed their time together but she’s leaving him for her ex-boyfriend that lives in San Francisco.

This is how it played out in Washington. Kirk is a franchise quarterback that performed from the start and played well enough to supplant Robert Griffin III as the starter. Yet Washington held off signing a long term deal as long as possible because they kept needing “to see more.” They did franchise Kirk twice and gave him a promise ring which paid him over $43 Million guaranteed but his resentment grew in those 2 years. This Monday, Washington proposed with a long term contract that would have guaranteed him $53 million on top of the $43 million he’s already made and he said…no thanks. Now the popular assumption is that hes’ going to join his ex-offensive coordinator, Kyle Shanahan, in San Francisco.

So how much is it going to take to “put a ring on it?” The answer is….who cares? Whatever it takes, you pay it. At the moment, the San Francisco 49ers have $66 million in cap space so any number they come up with is fine by me. Could Kirk end up making $25+ million a year? Sure he can. In fact, most likely he’s going to. Does that mean he’s the best quarterback because he’s the highest paid? Of course not. That’s not how life in the NFL works. When it comes to quarterbacks, an exorbitant contract just means you’re perceived as a franchise quarterback and you’re the latest one to be signed. That’s all. People need to stop trying to find some correlation between contract amount and skill level. There’s only two categories that matter when it comes to NFL quarterbacks come contract time. Either you fall into the “franchise quarterback” category or you fall into the “stop-gap quarterback” category. aka…NOT a franchise quarterback.

“That much cap space on Kirk Cousins is a waste. We won’t have any money left over to sign future players.”

Look, if you want a franchise quarterback then you have to accept that it’s going to cost you. Period. There’s no way around it. Either he’s going to cost you after his rookie contract is up, if you’re fortunate enough to draft one or he’s going to cost you from the moment you sign him in free agency. That’s if you’re ever lucky enough to have one hit the market. The start of 2018 free agency is going to be Christmas and the 49ers can thank Daniel Snyder and the Redskins for gifting them this franchise centerpiece. The 49ers have tons of young and cheap talent, especially on the defensive end. Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch have overhauled the roster with cost effective talent while maintaining cap space needed in case a situation EXACTLY like this one should arise. Yes it’s true that Kirk will eat up a chunk of that cap space making it difficult to sign upcoming contracts such as Carlos Hyde’s at the end of this year but it won’t make it impossible. Besides, having a quarterback that makes that much money means that you have found your solution at that position. That’s actually a GOOD problem to have. You lock up the quarterback position without hesitation when you have the chance because it’s the most important position in ALL of sports.

The flip side to all this is you can pass on the franchise quarterback and save a ton of cap space. This will allow you to easily extend up and coming stars such as Hyde this year, Arik Armstead in 3 years, Buckner in 4 years and Solomon Thomas in 5 years if they pan out like they are projected to. This also gives you flexibility to sign big names in free agency such as Sammy Watkins, Le’Veon Bell or a bunch of other players at skill positions. Cap room like this allows you to build an elite defense and equip the team with upper echelon players at skill positions while drafting a rookie to run the offense at quarterback since a cheap rookie will be all you’re able to afford at the moment. Now it could be just one rookie you draft and put all your hopes into or you can draft one year after year until one pans out and you strike gold….IF you ever strike gold. If the plan works to perfection then you’re supporting cast should be ready to contend sooner than later but now you’re stuck waiting on the most important position in all of sports to play catch up. No pressure there for the young guy(sarcastic). At the end of it all, there is a chance we NEVER find that franchise quarterback and now our supporting cast has either aged or become too expensive to keep around which brings us back to square one…rebuilding. Is that REALLY the route that the 49ers and this fan base want to take? I sure as hell don’t because we have ALREADY taken that road and it’s led us to where we are now. How soon this fan base forgets that not too long ago we had an elite defense, All-Pro tight end, high draft pick at wide receiver, a Hall Of Fame worthy running back and it STILL wasn’t enough to win a Super Bowl. Why? Because we never had a franchise worthy quarterback. While management built a strong foundation over years, they never hit on the franchise quarterback. Instead we recycled Alex Smith over and over until we drafted a rookie in Colin Kaepernick who we put all of our hopes into just to be let down when it mattered the most. We wasted 8 years waiting to see if Alex would develop into the franchise quarterback and another 4 on Kaepernick just to end up back at square one.

Is that really what you want to happen again?

So pick your poison. Pay your quarterback and worry about building around him or pay everyone else and worry about hitting the quarterback lottery in the draft. I for one have seen how praying to draft a savior panned out and I want nothing to do with it. I’ll take a proven veteran over the potential of a rookie who’s never stepped foot on an NFL field any day.  Give me directions to the road that pays Cousins to be our franchise quarterback and trust that John Lynch can build a Super Bowl worthy team around him while Kyle “the QB Guru” Shanahan squeezes every ounce of ability out of Cousins that he can. Even if this is the wrong choice…so what??? We’ve already been down that other road. Let’s try something new!

SIgn the man. Pay the man. Let him lead.